Touched by an angel :)
Cairo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 20 › view all entries
April 5th, 2010 – by: anupa_rk
The Saladin Citadel of Cairo, constructed by the ruler Salah-al Din, is this massive fort which now houses a dozen museums.. and of course, the mosque of Mohammed Ali. Again, I didn’t know much about this stop, but it was on everyone’s must-see list, and so see it I did!
The Citadel in itself was nothing spectacular. Yes, it had amazing views of the city… In fact, from one point you could see the Pyramids of Giza in the horizon! That really was spectacular. And yes, I am sure that the citadel served its purpose in the past and protected the city.
What made this one so gorgeous was the mosque. It was just fabulous. Something about its silver domes and high towers just catches the eye and mesmerizes! (Check out the picture on Wikipedia.. much better than mine.. although mine are not bad either, I think!)
And what made it most interesting and memorable for me was the little experience that I had there :)
There was this group of school girls that was having a day out from school or something like that.. And they were having a gala time trying to converse with the tourists in the place. Our paths happened to cross, the groups and mine, as I was making my exit of the Citadel. One of the bolder ones from the group mustered enough courage to approach me, ask me my name, and then dash away before I could even reply.
I decided to give these girls something to chew on. And so I walked up to them, introduced myself and asked them what their names were! For a moment, no one knew how to strike back… and then one of the younger ones came and held my hand and told me her name. And that broke the ice. Soon they were firing all the English they could gather at me! What is your name.. where are you from.. come and see the mosque with us!!! And so, they took me around the mosque… giggling… filled with curiosity about me and everything I was carrying on me.
Religion, caste, creed, race, region – no bar… The innocence of a child is something so precious and so touching..
After the Citadel and the mosque, I decided to head towards Coptic Cairo.. also known as Old Cairo. The story (fact, actually!) goes that Christianity came to Egypt a long long time before the state adopted Islam as its official religion. And so, old Cairo is littered with Churches of the days past.. There is a strong Greek flavor to the churches and the graveyards.
Coptic Cairo’s streets and churches take you right back to the early days of Christianity.. to the time when this new religion was finding its roots.. establishing its beliefs.. establishing itself.
I was so lost in all that beauty that before I knew it, it was closing time and I was ushered out of there!
All in all, a day well spent!! I had seen about all that I had wanted to see in Cairo. And now, it was time to head down south! Or, upstream… to Upper Egypt, as they call it..
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